Articles from the July 27, 2023 edition


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  • COLT FIRE EXPLODES

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    The Colt Fire went from 15 acres Wednesday morning to the largest in Montana by Friday night, burning heavy fuels and encroaching into private land. The strike was started by lightning on July 17. Firefighters from the Forest Service and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conversation did initial attack on the blaze, holding it to dead lodgepole stands and limited tree torching. After two days of smoking out heavy dead and downed lodgepole pines, the fire took off on Thursday, quick...

  • Colt Fire July 30: Critical fire weather expected in evening, containment at 6%

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    Warmer temperatures and swift winds are expected to increase Colt Fire activity on Sunday, July 30, while fire managers race to get around the fire with containment lines first. The Colt Fire was last measured at 5,475 acres on July 29. No acreage update was available for Sunday, but officials reported some fire growth. Containment now sits at 6%. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for critical fire behavior from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 30. Temperatures in the fire are...

  • Colt Fire July 28: containment reaches 3%, helicopters use Condon airport as base

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    Fire lines on the eastern flank of the fire are holding, giving firefighters on the Colt Fire their first confirmed containment on July 28. The Colt Fire is now 5,252 acres with 3% containment. The fire grew about 315 acres from July 27 Fire crews burned out western sections of Forest Service Road 646 on July 27, containing the flames closest to homes on the northeast side of the fire. Workers on the north side are clearing vegetation from Beaver Creek Road with dozers and hand crews and plan...

  • Colt Fire July 27: Burn nears 5,000 acres, close to cell tower

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    The Colt Fire clocked in at 4,937 acres early Thursday morning, July 27. The fire grew by 547 acres over the last two days, and is still 0% contained. Containment efforts could start making headway as fire crews plan to burnout western sections of Forest Service Road 646 to secure the eastern front of the fire. Smoke from the burnout could be visible from Highway 83 on Thursday. The fire is still burning moderately, despite slightly higher temperatures and a lower humidity. On the south side of...

  • July 26 Update: Firefighters to take 'aggressive action' to contain Colt Fire

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    The Colt Fire slowed its pace on Tuesday, July 25, giving firefighters time to prep containment lines and stop the spread of spot fires. There is no acreage update for Wednesday, July 26, as cloud cover prevented infrared flight mapping. Tuesday morning clocked in at 4,390 acres with 0% containment. The growth is likely less than Monday, when a dry cold front helped burn more than 1,000 acres on the day. Fire conditions are expected to be moderate for the rest of the week, with active burning...

  • Loon and Fish Fest meshes art with nature

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    The theme of the annual Loon and Fish Festival hinges on its artists, and this year brought one of a kind items and old favorites to the Seeley Lake Foundation Building. The two day festival on July 21 and 22 brought scores of residents and visitors to look at and buy art, hear from a loon expert and get versed on all things fishing. The festival is sponsored by Alpine Artisans and use the profits raised by the art and ice cream sales to fund student scholarships. "It's a huge thing for artists...

  • Montana property taxes explained

    Brendan Beatty, Montana Department of Revenue Director|Jul 27, 2023

    By now, most Montana property owners have opened their 2023 Property Classification and Appraisal Notices, and many have been surprised by the Montana Department of Revenue’s estimate of their property’s market value. It’s no secret that property in Montana has been selling at higher and higher prices, but the size of the increased values is astonishing to everyone — including me. These value increases and estimated 2023 General Taxes described on the notice — based upon the prior year’s mills — have created a great deal of confusion, fe...

  • Missoula County Sheriff's log for July 27

    7/14 12:47 p.m. Disturbance 32XX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/15 2:09 p.m. Suspicious Activity 33XX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/15 2:45 p.m. Accident - Hit and Run 33XX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/15 3:02 p.m. Suspicious Activity 68XX N. Placid Lake Road 7/15 6:02 p.m. Accident with Injury MM Highway 83, Salmon Lake 7/15 11:45 p.m. Accident with Injury 32XX Highway 83, Seeley Lake 7/16 11:29 a.m. Accident with Injury Double Arrow Lookout Road 7/16 7:39 p.m. Disorderly Conduct MM Highway 83, Salmon Lake 7/17 1:00 p.m. Accident with Injury 3XMM Highway...

  • Embracing change and progress

    Kris Johnson, Retired SLE Teacher, Librarian|Jul 27, 2023

    As a long-time reader and supporter of the Pathfinder, the sale of the newspaper several months ago certainly stirred feelings of apprehension and uncertainty among community members, including myself. Andi and Nathan’s stewardship would be a tough act for anyone to follow. However, I firmly believe that this change can be an opportunity for growth and progress. Over the years, our newspaper has been a vital part of our community, fostering connections and informing us about the events, stories, and people that shape our lives. We have seen i...

  • Finding the Truth

    Wayne Dunn, Elder at Mission Bible Fellowship|Jul 27, 2023

    In America today, we are bombarded from every direction with countless sources of competing claims of “truth.” These competing claims clash and oppose each other, yet all claim to be truth. So let’s take a few minutes to ask the questions: What is truth? Why is it important? And how is truth determined? Perhaps truth is best defined as that which conforms with fact or reality. Real truth is not subjective. Truth is not determined by personal feelings, desires, or popular opinion. When we call these things “truth,” we are wrong, and we open the...

  • Seeley resident makes art for Montana Meth Project contest

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    A newly-graduated resident of Seeley-Swan High School Grace Mercado has a mural painted on the side of the Chicken Coop with the message to stay away from dangerous drugs, especially methamphetamines. "I decided to work on this project because I knew it was such a good cause, I wanted to make my statement about the project and hopefully help others see this poster and see the horrific impact meth has on someone," Mercado said. Mercado took two tries to paint "Abstract Horrors of Meth's...

  • Shakespeare in the Parks brings the Three Musketeers to Seeley Lake

    Jenny Rohrer, of Alpine Artisans|Jul 27, 2023

    Alpine Artisans, in partnership with the Double Arrow Lodge, is excited to announce that Montana Shakespeare in the Parks will be presenting the exciting play, The Three Musketeers, on the Double Arrow Lawn on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. The event is free, and Double Arrow will be offering food and drinks for sale. A swashbuckling tale filled with action and adventure, The Three Musketeers will enthrall all generations of audience members as they get swept away to 17th century France, following...

  • Fire danger raised to very high in county

    Max Rebholz, Missoula County Wildfire Preparedness Coordinator|Jul 27, 2023

    Missoula, Montana – Due to increasing temperatures and drying vegetation, fire protection agencies have raised the fire danger in Missoula County to VERY HIGH, effective Monday, July 24, 2023. Very high fire danger means that fires start easily from all causes, and immediately spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Unattended campfires are likely to escape, and high intensity burning is likely to occur on slopes and concentrated grassy areas. It is imperative that residents and visitors alike exercise caution when outdoors. On a...

  • Forest management with wildlife in mind

    Mike Mayernik, Conservation and Stewardship Associate, Swan Valley Connections|Jul 27, 2023

    Often, I get questions from landowners about managing their forests, and about forest stewardship. Typically, one of the most important concerns and values landowners have been wildlife. I am often asked what can I do to promote wildlife habitat, while at the same time managing other things such as wildfire? We wanted to share some things that you can do while managing your forest to promote a diversity of wildlife, while still managing your fire-adapted Swan Valley forest. Snags Snags are standing dead trees, either full height or broken off...

  • Archives for July 27

    Jul 27, 2023

    Twenty years ago... July 24, 2003 Take a ride on the Canyon Falls and Western Railway By Patricia Swan Smith Bob Jenkins has been playing with trains ever since he was a little boy. While many abandon their childhood hobbies, Bob's just kept growing. And thanks to his love for trains, the Seeley -Swan Valley has a wonderful treat to enjoy - a passenger railway complete with an engine, two passenger cars and a caboose. "His unnatural progression with trains went from childhood to adulthood and...

  • Choral festival brings young, old voices together

    Griffen Smith, of the Pathfinder|Jul 27, 2023

    Echos of the song "Hallelujah" reverberated off the walls of the Seeley-Swan High School auditorium as two ensembles from Taiwan and Poland serenaded onlookers during the International Choral festival preview last week. The festival, which is held in Missoula, previewed two of the choral groups in Seeley Lake on July 18. Nearly 100 people sat in chairs as the high-level performers belted out traditional and modern songs, each with their own special twist. "Choral is a small but extended network...

  • Column: Southwest Crown of the Continent "Looking Back" Forest Management Tour

    Jul 27, 2023

    An interesting and insightful “Looking Back” forest tour on the Seeley Lake and Swan Lake National Forest Ranger Districts was recently held in July. The event was very informative and reflective of the complexity and difficulty in satisfying the many desired conditions and services required in Seeley and Swan Valley forest landscapes. Topics of discussion varied widely but extensively addressed issues on forest health, forest biodiversity, wildfire, habitat for grizzly bears, Canada lynx, bull...

  • Fire Log for July 27

    7/14/2023 Medical Highway 83 7/14/2023 Medical Cutthrout Circuit 7/16/2023 Fire Westfork Clearwater 7/16/2023 Medical Beargrass Lane 7/16/2023 7/17/2023 Medical Montana Drive 7/17/2023 Accident Injury Highway 200 7/17/2023 Illegal Burn Oak Lane 7/17/2023 Accident Injury Highway 200 7/18/2023 Fire Placid lake Road 7/19/2023 Fire Grandview Drive 7/20/2023 Accident Injury Highway 83 7/21/2023 Gas Alarm Highway 83 7/21/2023 Medical Boyscout Road 7/21/2023 Fire Highway 83 7/22/2023 Fire Boyscout Road 7/22/2023 Fire Illegal Burn 7/22/2023 Fire Colt...

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